CURRITUCK — Incumbent Currituck Register of Deeds Denise Hall is running for a third-term on her record of modernizing the office while challenger Christy McCord said improvements need to be implemented at the office.
Hall, 63, and McCord, 43, will face off in the March 3 Republican primary to decide who oversees the county’s vital records for the next four years. Because no Democrat filed for the race, the winner of the Hall-McCord primary will almost certainly claim the job after the November general election.
The Currituck Register of Deeds Office records, indexes, and preserves all real estate and business-related documents in the county. It also issues marriage licenses, certified birth records and certified death records.
“Staying abreast of technology and all of the uses of technology to create a larger efficiency has been and will continue to be a goal for me,” Hall said. “When I took office, it was antiquated. With the digitalization of records that I have done, we are no longer faced with expanding the office.’’
McCord, however, said improvements need to be made to the Register of Deeds office. Those improvements include creating a new mobile app that will allow users, especially real estate agents and attorneys, better access to the office’s website from mobile devices. McCord said that only the first page of the office’s website can be accessed from a mobile device. She said she will work with the county’s technology department to improve the page’s functionality.
“We need a mobile website, and that is one thing I will implement immediately if I am elected,” McCord said. “There is not a mobile app and a lot of our real estate agents try to use that (web)site from their phones. When you pull it up, you can only see page one of nine. You can try it out. That is like a kid giving you page one of a three-page report card.’’
Hall said all of the pages are available when using a mobile device and that she has given instructions to people on how to navigate the process.
“If she (McCord) wants to come in to the office, I would be happy to show her how it works on her cellphone,” Hall said.
The two candidates also differ on whether the Register of Deeds Office should process passport requests. The Clerk of the Court’s office used to process passport requests in Currituck but discontinued the process because of the office’s heavy workload.
Hall feels it is not practical for the Register of Deeds Office to take over processing passports because she said that, by law, the employee, or employees, who would process passports would not be able to also have access to the vital records in the office. Having access to vital records, which include birth, death and marriage certificates, is part of the day-to-day activities of the current staff, Hall said.
“I would have to restrict their access completely to any vital records, which is a big part of their jobs,” Hall said. “I could not oversee it (passport processing) because it would take away my access to vital records also. I can’t take away that access to vital records because I supervise that function.’’
McCord said the Register of Deeds Office is capable of processing passport requests and it would be a service she would offer if elected.
“I would do it exactly like the Clerk of Court’s office did,” McCord said. “There is not that much involved with it. You don’t have to take employees off their current task. I think there is plenty of time in the office to do that. It is just helping citizens with the application process because it can be complicated for someone that is not familiar with it.”
Early voting for the primary started Thursday and ends Saturday, Feb. 29.